Happy Spring! Yup- I said Spring. Even though your kids may be out of school and temps are warming up, it’s not quite summer and we’ve had some lovely cool weather this spring in Cincinnati. I may not want soup, but Indian food always satisfies.
My husband and I discovered this awesome Indian simmer sauce at Aldi. Now before you go screaming “high sodium, high fat!”, hear me out. Products vary from sauce to sauce. The Jalfrezi sauce has only 80 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup and 360 mg sodium. When you consider all the yummy, healthy stuff you can add to it, this seems like a pretty good compromise. And, it will cost you about $2.50 per jar and makes at least 4 servings, which will save you from spending $11-14 per entree at your favorite Indian restaurant.
I am all about simple, healthy meals and this has become a favorite at least twice a month. You can toss just about any vegetable into it, but I like frozen green beans, diced tomatoes and carrot coins for color. This recipe is also great for meatless Monday since you can use garbanzo beans or kidney beans as your protein source. I add onions and various bell peppers, which add color and flavor as well as vitamin C and other antioxidants. For vegetarians, iron absorption (from plants) is enhanced when combined with a food (like tomatoes or peppers) that contain vitamin C. Win win!
We’ve made the recipe with leftover chicken as well, but honestly- the beans add a boatload of soluble fiber and taste great mixed with all the veggies. Give it a whirl! #aldi #simmer #sauce #dinner @AldiUSA
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can unsalted diced tomatoes (not drained)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen green beans
3 carrots, chopped or 1 cup frozen carrot coins
1 bell pepper (red or yellow), chopped
1 (16 oz.) jar Aldi Jalfrezi sauce
- In a medium sauce pan, add diced tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, onions and kidney beans and stir.
- Add entire jar of Jalfrezi sauce to vegetables. Stir and simmer for ~30 minutes until carrots are soft.
- Serve over brown rice or quinoa.
Makes 4 (1 cup) servings. Nutrition information per serving (does not include rice): 242 calories, 6 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium.
This simple salad is great for spring or summer. I had the chance to work with Litehouse foods to develop a few recipes and this was one I created. Spinach and blueberries boast cancer-fighting phytochemicals as well as potassium and fiber. Mukamame (shelled green soybeans) provide protein, fiber and texture. Paired with Litehouse bleu cheese dressing and pistachios, this recipe will become a repeated favorite. Add grilled chicken or fish to make it a complete meal! #SeetheLite #sponsored
10 oz. baby spinach, washed and spun dry
1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and dried
1 cup Mukamame (shelled green soybeans)- thawed if frozen
½ cup chopped pistachios
½ cup Litehouse bleu cheese dressing
Place the spinach in a medium sized bowl. Add blueberries and soybeans. Drizzle Litehouse dressing over salad. Add chopped pistachios over the dressing and serve.
Makes 8 servings: Nutrition facts per serving: 162 calories, 12 grams fat, 1.6 grams saturated fat, 11.7 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fiber, 4.6 grams protein, 4.8 mg cholesterol, 178 mg sodium.
Move over Greek yogurt, there’s a new kid in town and it’s not the Icelandic variety. The Expo West food trade show in Anaheim California will be graced with the new yogurt’s debut. The yogurt is from Japan’s dairy industry Morinaga. Although the Japanese style yogurt has been around since 1994, it will make its entrance into the American market this year.
The Japanese yogurt, branded Alove, is different than the current Greek-style yogurt in a few ways. For one, it’s got a much lighter, thinner texture than its thicker counterpart. It also has aloe vera cubes suspended in the yogurt. Forecasters of food trends note that consumers have a new love interest in Japanese style foods, which Whole Foods dubs “Japanese food beyond Sushi”. In a 12-state survey of over 500 men and women aged 18-59, 80% of yogurt consumers desire a new food experience. Of 60% of survey respondents, those who consume yogurt often or are most health conscious show interest in purchasing the new style yogurt.
Sale of Morinaga’s Alove yogurt will start in the West coast, considering California and other states have more Chinese, Japanese and Korean grocers. Morinaga currently sells aseptic tofu in the US and will use its channels to join national conventional grocers in addition to natural and specialty stores. In addition to modifying the package design, the text was translated to English and the picture on the carton simplified to an aloe plant. And like many brands in the US, the package is simple and clean to attract nutrition savvy consumers.
Be Kaleful! Kale Yes!
While visiting Chicago with my little sis recently, we came upon this groovy street fare, complete with vintage art prints, tempered glass jewelry, music and original food. Among the vendors were food ambassadors from Rhythm Superfoods out of Austin, Texas. If you’re not familiar with a food “ambassador”, it is one of those friendly people you may see at a festival or the zoo that gives out product samples. They gave us a free sample pouch of kale chips, which I didn’t try until I returned home.
I know what you’re thinking- kale chips, seriously? But seriously. These chips were surprisingly crunchy and seasoned just right. I tried the original first (they were generous and gave me a ranch pouch, too). The serving size provided 100 calories and 6 grams of fat, which is 40% less fat than potato chips. In addition, the sodium count was pretty low for a bagged snack food, containing a mere 170 mg per serving. Most chips, pretzels or popcorn can be pretty sodium heavy. In addition, each 100 calorie bag of USDA organic kale provides 3 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams protein. Not too shabby.
That little white pouch in the picture reminds me of the silica pack you’d find in your tennis shoes box to keep out moisture. It is not the same stuff and is safe to be in the bag with the kale.
The roasted kale chips come in multiple flavors including original, roasted garlic and onion, ranch and chili lime. The company also makes beet chips. Beets are the new black my friends!
As to where to buy them, you can find them on Amazon.com or at rhythmsuperfoods.com. Check them out if you see them. They are #nutrigirlapproved!
I want to start by saying that I am usually not a big consumer of frozen meals, but I received a coupon for a free one while attending a nutrition conference in Orlando this May. The company (called Luvo) participated as a vendor at the Today’s Dietitian Symposium, and most of us food nerds were glad they did. They passed out samples of some of their most popular frozen meals including Chicken Chile Verde and Kale Ricotta Ravioli. Not too shabby! While I am typically not a big proponent for processed food, you may want to give these meals a try.
Luvo is a new company out of Blaine, Washington. The big difference with Luvo is their interesting flavor combinations and reduced sodium load. The meal I ate contained <500 mg sodium, which in the frozen meal world, is unheard of. Most frozen meals (even the ones dubbed "healthy") contain at least 600 mg per serving with the majority being in the 800 range.
The flavor combination was also interesting. I picked out turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts and cranberries. The sauce was slightly spicy and peppery and savory. While there was not a large serving of vegetables in the dish, I appreciated a small amount of chopped zucchini in the turkey loaf.
Speaking of which, the turkey meatloaf was delightful! It was the perfect texture- not too tough and not too mushy. It was served with a rich brown gravy. The dish boasts 23 grams of protein, which kept me full for a good 3 hours.
Another big difference with Luvo frozen meals is their packaging. You are literally forced to put the food on a plate (versus eating from a tiny plastic black tray). The meal is sealed in an OVEN or microwave safe bag. It is placed seam-side up on a plate and ‘nuked’ for 5-7 minutes. You then ‘shimmy’ (their words) the contents onto a plate. At first I thought it would be a sloppy mess, but surprisingly, it plated up pretty nicely.
Luvo meals will cost you about $3.99 each, which is a bit spendier than your average frozen dishes. But if you think about what you’ll spend (in sheckles and your health) at a fast food or pizza joint, these meals are worth a try! In short, Luvo meals are #nutrigirlapproved.
For more information or to find out where to purchase meals, check out their web site: http://luvoinc.com/